One of the biggest stories coming out of this year’s high profile gaming expo is the announcement of Sony’s revised Playstation Portable.
We got our hands on one, we played some games, now hear what we think.
It’s as easy as that.
As much as I have enjoyed my PSP (2000 series), I’ve found a few annoyances, mostly with it’s form factor.
The original PSP works (technically) as an MP3 player, but suffers from poorly designed shoulder buttons. Even a slight jostling or miscalculation can cause a shoulder button to be triggered, skipping the track you’re currently listening to.
The PSP Go alleviates much of this problem with stiffer, more shallow shoulder buttons. The design of the sliding screen also helps to protect the shoulder buttons from accidental activation.
The length of the unit was also a problem, making it unwieldy and difficult to easily drop into a shirt pocket. By moving the buttons inward and including a slide-out screen, the length of the PSP is dramatically reduced. Removing the UMD drive also reduces the weight by 40%, making it light and comfortable to hold.
Based on those two improvements alone, I may actually be able to endorse the PSP Go as a viable alternative to an iPod or Zune. With 16GB of internal flash memory, support for Memory Stick cards, and support for multiple video formats, it certainly can do the job.
Also new to this model is BlueTooth support (including stereo profiles) but it is unclear if the included Skype application will support a BT headset. If it does, the Go is also a legitimate WiFi telephone.
But enough about the specs and features, you’re already aware of these things.
How does the thing PLAY?
I’m pleased to report that it’s damn comfortable.
It also appears to be more solid than previous models. The launch model (1000 series) was embarrassingly heavy, but it felt like it would survive a high speed collision. The 2000-3000 series both felt… well… cheap.
Perhaps it’s the quality of materials used, but the Go feels solid, sturdy, and well crafted… without the extra heft of the 1000 series machines.
I was a little concerned about button placement being too close, and the recesses around the buttons making them less accessible. My fears were without merit, and I was happy to find them easily reached, and very responsive.
Now I’m faced with a serious choice: Do I sacrifice my UMD game collection for what is a VASTLY improved design, or do I hold onto the old games and just make do with my 2000 series?
And THAT’S where I think Sony may have turned the corner with the PSP; I know without a doubt I’ll be picking up a PSP Go on launch day. So the real question is, what do I do with my old one?